Well, week 1 of my no spend month is over and although it wasn't a complete success, I spent substantially less than usual.
Positives of the week:
No cafe visits! I embraced my stove-top coffee machine and didn't miss the actual cafe coffee at all. But I did miss actually going to cafes. I've realised that my little outings to grab a coffee and a few things from the shops are enjoyable because I'm interacting with people. I love the staff at my favourite cafe, and even love the surly ladies who serve me at the fruit and veg shop (I'd be surly if I worked there too - it's freezing!). My son is in prep and learning about his community at the moment, which incorporated a visit to our local shopping plaza and library last week. I scoffed at the time, but have realised how much I do love living (and shopping) in my local community.
More park/playground visits! Due to cafes not being an option, I've made sure my daily outings with the girls are a bit more exciting than the usual park that we go to post-cafe. So I've packed snacks and we've headed to playgrounds a bit further afield. I even managed to go to the Edinburgh Gardens playground without spending money! Normally after the playground I'm tempted by the Clifton Hill shops. This usually involves a cafe visit and a fruit/veg top up at the overpriced veg shops there. I can easily spend $50, so good on me for avoiding that this week.
Thinking outside the square food-wise. I had a big bowl of leftover porridge the other day that I managed to turn into rather delicious chocolate biscuits! And when we ran out of bread, my son's sandwich was replaced by rice cakes. And by saving celery ends in the freezer for stock, my soup was saved.
The not quite successful bits:
Planning issues. I totally stuffed up in terms of making sure I had enough basics to get me through the month. We have nearly run out of flour, which is a problem if I'm going to make my own bread, pizza dough etc. (and keep my starter alive!). And the tissue and toilet paper supplies are a lot lower than I thought - but we might just make it through - and I'm sure we have a hanky stash somewhere. Anyway, I'm going to buy a big 10kg bag of flour to get us through - a lot cheaper than buying bread, wraps, pizza bases etc. Also, we went away for the weekend and although I took a lot of food with us, I ended up buying some food at the supermarket for one of the meals. Nothing outrageous, but I could have planned better and taken more stuff with me.
Getting a 5 year old on board. There was a mother's day stall at my son's school and we were asked to send $5 to $8 with our child so they could buy us something. I explained to Lewis that we weren't spending money this month and that I didn't want a (probably crappy!!) gift. All I wanted was a nice home-made card. He was pretty unhappy about this and was upset, as all the other kids had money that morning. Anyway, it turns out that the parents running the stall felt sorry for him and gave him stuff for free! It was just a card and a bookmark, but now I just feel bad. Also, Lewis's friend just gave him some of his money, which he brought home. Disaster all round.
Unexpected expenses. In addition to the mother's day stall fiasco, Lewis's school announced that the school concert tickets were on sale FOR $25 EACH! I was (and still am) outraged. My son is in Prep and is singing one song, and for that we must pay $50 to see him sing. I've written an email to the school expressing my outrage, but had to buy the tickets. Lewis tells me he won a prize for best dancing the other day, so hopefully it's worth the $50! Other expenses include Ginger's only pair of (non summer) shoes literally falling apart - her socks get wet when it rains - so we'll be off to the shops this week. But of course I'll shop around for a bargain!
So all up, it's been a fairly successful start to the no spend month, with a few minor hiccups. Although the week did go VERY slowly! But I think that was just my cafe withdrawal...